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OFDA_RCA2 (1) © Action contre la Faim République Centrafricaine

Headline

Central African Republic

Providing water for people displaced by the conflicts

In particular, the humanitarian situation is marked by the acceleration of population movements generated by an uncertain security environment. The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees counted about 610,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the first quarter of 2020. Population movements in the short term increase humanitarian needs, particularly in terms of access to clean water and sanitation or hygiene practices.

This general situation, disparate by area of the territory, is particularly marked in the prefecture of Basse Kotto where the number of IDPs increased significantly over the whole of 2019 to reach nearly 55,000 individuals by the end of January 2020.

At Alindao’s four IDP sites, which count more than 26,500 people, Action Against Hunger teams are among the only actors providing safe drinking water.  On the Catholic site, one of the most populous IDP sites in CAR, this support is achieved thanks to the support of the Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

The water assistance provided by the AAH gives much-needed support to the community that lives here on the site. The equitable distribution of water in the different areas of the camp prevents untimely displacement and avoids recurrent conflicts“. 

In a context of promiscuity such as on the Catholic site IDP camp of Alindao, social peace is certainly not the least of the benefits of providing drinking water in the neighbourhoods as evidenced by the community leader. It also demonstrates that a community-based approach works perfectly with WASH and Health interventions .

self-sustainable communities

The water system has its source in the river downstream, in a river arm moved 5 years ago by the ICRC, present at that time. The piping is managed every day by a team of volunteers who maintain the equipment and clean the river arm, which leads to a coarsely filtered water tray where water can be pumped. Ideal for irrigation and secured thanks to permanent presence of AAH’ volunteers at the pumping station, this area is one of the few places where displaced people can grow cassava, peanuts and green vegetables, partly ensuring their food autonomy.

200 meters upstream, the water treatment plant is run by Elie and Christian, residents on the site and designated by community members for their probity, an essential quality to the management of common infrastructure. They have both been trained in chlorination and water quality verification techniques by Action Against Hunger teams, which provide close monitoring compliance with current health standards for drinking water management.

Elie testifies: “We received training from AAH a year ago and recall training is regularly carried out. In particular, we are responsible for the maintenance of the equipment, the verification of the quality of the water”.

Volunteers receive an encouraging bonus of 2500 CFA francs per day. A rotation is carried out every two weeks with other members of the community. According to Christian, “This role entrusted to us by Action Against Hunger allows us to provide for our loved ones and allows us to be valued within the community.” The trained mechanic also appreciates the knowledge gained through this function, and would see himself as a humanitarian worker. A profession that he continues to value to his surroundings.

OFDA_RCA (1) © Action contre la Faim République Centrafricaine

providing people with clean drinking water

Further on, different tanks located at heights ensure the gravity supply of
11 water points, providing safe drinking water to a displaced population which had risen to about 18,500 people in March 2020. Irene, responsible for one of the water points, makes sure that drinking water is distributed equitably among the inhabitants and that hygiene conditions promoted by the AAH teams are respected.

"The people of the site care about the proper maintenance of water points, we know that misuse is a vector of diseases, especially for children.”"
Irene
responsible for one of the water points, CAR

Through this system, thanks to community engagement and financial support from partners such as OFDA, AAH manages to supply one of CAR’s largest IDPs camps at a rate of 12.5 litres per day per person. Still under the international standards of 15 litres per day per person, and taking into account the likely sustainable settlement of people on the site, this support needs to be strengthened. So, AAH continues to look for additional funds to allow safe water acess to at least 18 000 people.

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